Ferriday’s boil-water notice not longest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – The boil-water notice that has been in effect in Ferriday for 56 days is not even close to being Louisiana’s longest-ever notice.

As far as officials with the state’s Safe Drinking Water Program can tell, that record was set earlier this decade by a water system in Winn Parish – which was under a boil-water notice for more than two years.

&uot;The problem was that (that system) needed qualified operators,&uot; said Sidney Becnel, enforcement unit administrator for the Safe Drinking Water Program (SDWP).

Email newsletter signup

That notice, caused by repeatedly high bacteria levels in water samples, was finally lifted in 1997 when the system decided to get help to fix their system from an adjacent water district, Becnel said.

Both Becnel and Michael Cazes, Alexandria-based regional director for SDWP, said the program does not keep a database of how long notices stay in effect.

But Cazes said it is not unusual for boil-water notices to last as long as Ferriday’s.

&uot;It’s certainly not one of the worst situations I’ve seen, … and I’ve been here since 1982,&uot;&160;he said.

He said that the time it takes to get the funds and line up contractors to correct water system problems is the reason such systems, especially ones in rural areas, have boil-water notices that last for weeks, months – or, in Winn Parish’s case, years.

But Patrick Credeur, executive director of the Louisiana Rural Water Association, said such notices are the exception, not the rule.

&uot;Of the state’s 2,200 water systems, I’d say 99 percent stay within state and federal safe drinking water regulations,&uot;&160;Credeur said. &uot;From time to time, though, there are going to be accidents.&uot;

Meanwhile, Cazes said his office will not lift Ferriday’s boil water notice until its water registers turbidity, or clarity, levels below 0.5 for three straight days.

&uot;Then we’ll look at chlorine residue in the system to make sure it’s acceptable, and then we’ll look at lifting the notice,&uot;&160;Cazes said. &uot;But not until then.&uot;